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Covid’s Lasting Effects Deserve Rigorous Study

The risks of over-diagnosing a syndrome are real, but that does not mean that the syndrome does not exist.

Jeremy Devine declares that “long Covid” and some other illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, are not biological disorders, but are psychological, psychosomatic diseases, and mislabeled manifestations of depression or anxiety (“The Dubious Origins of Long Covid,” op-ed, March 23). His clean distinction between psycho and somatic betrays an inaccurate conceptualization.

Physicians understand that psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia, major depression and others, are usually associated with biological markers, such as inflammatory responses, disrupted neural pathways and neurotransmitter distinctions. Dr. Devine declares that long Covid patients will perceive themselves as “helpless victims of an unrelenting sickness” who retain the “fixed belief that one is ill and unlikely to recover.” Support for these patients should continue to include psychological treatment for those elements and continued research for other medical relief.

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